CitiChurch becomes Storyside Church

BELLVILLE — A church located just outside Bellville has not only been building a new auditorium structure. It now has a new name.

Citichurch has converted to Storyside Church, said lead pastor Micah Pelkey.

The church has been going through a transition period, Pelkey said. It was decided that with a new building, and needing proper signage, a name change would be appropriate before the new structure opens.

A large building is being constructed behind the original Citichurch building on State Route 97. It will house an auditorium, while the older building will be used for activities for students and children.

A lot of thought was given to the type of name needed, Pelkey said. People talked about grace, mercy and community, words associated with church activities.

Those things are the “heart of who we are,” Pelkey said.

People working on choosing a name also mentioned the fact that “every single day” someone at church would get a story from someone who could say he had been “clean for three months.”

People tell stories a lot, Pelkey said.

There are two sides to every story, according to Pelkey. For the church the sides can be “pre-Jesus” and then the “side with Jesus.”

Pelkey said the “moment when God steps in, picks up a pen,” there can be “more peace, happiness, forgiveness.”

Giving the church the name “Storyside” also takes into account the “element of celebrating,” Pelkey said.

People talk about getting a divorce, or going through bankruptcy, Pelkey said. They “talk about that side as much as they talk about success, achievements,” he said.

Pelkey said he believes “every chair matters” in the church. They can be used by kids, an intern, Latinos or people who are African American, he said.

Last year 956 kids ages up to 11 years attended, he said.

Storyside Church started seven years ago on the square in Bellville, Pelkey said. It gave out hot meals to people in need. It was thought then the name Citichurch was applicable, Pelkey said.

Now that it is located outside Bellville, it is not thought of as a “citichurch,” by many, Pelkey said.

The new building will be 140 by 120 feet.

The church has had 100 to 150 people attend per week, but sometimes the number has gone higher. Last weekend 2,200 people attended, Pelkey said.

The church is non-denominational, and there are 17 different backgrounds in people who attend. Some people have been Catholic, some Baptist. Even some Amish people attend, Pelkey said.

In a document the church hands out, it says that “God writes a great story.”

“Storyside has been a place where new stories are being written for people’s lives each week. Stories of marriages saved and strengthened. Stories of addictions being broken. Stories of emotional healing and hope restored. Both sides of your story matter.”

The document says people probably have a “new story to tell because of what God has done in your life.

And you can bet there’s someone else out there, just like you, who desperately needs to hear your story and experience the same opportunity that you had to begin life again.”

The logo for the Storyside Church is a large S — WHERE LIFE BEGINS AGAIN.

A photograph, with a picture of Pelkey and his wife ????? says “We’re the same church, we’re just saying it better now. CitiChurch is now Storyside Church.”

Construction on an addition to the former Citichurch, now Storyside, shows the space which will be converted into an auditorium. Submitted photo on an addition to the former Citichurch, now Storyside, shows the space which will be converted into an auditorium. Submitted photo

Staff report